There’s no doubt that choirs have been one of the pandemic’s greatest casualties. Despite stories and scientific reports having often been contradictory on the risks of group singing in enclosed spaces, the almost universal response of governments has been to shut them down. From church choirs to choral societies, singers all over the world have been silenced, making the gradual lifting of restrictions and the return to rehearsal and performance a cause for much celebration.

Elizabeth Scott, Music Director of SPC’s 18-30 ensemble VOX, rehearses with masks. All photos supplied

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs is no exception. Australia’s oldest and largest choral organisation was in the final stages of rehearsing for Beethoven’s Missa Solemniswith the Sydney Symphony Orchestra when it all fell apart. “We were due to have a piano call on 15 March with Donald Runnicles and instead, Emma Dunch the CEO of the SSO came to the rehearsal and told us that it was all cancelled,” explains Hannah Mason, SPC’s General Manager. “We had no idea at that point how much it would affect us. We...